What could have been.
For the second night in a row, the Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolets were some of the fastest cars in the field at Iowa Speedway. Starting as a pair in 12th and 13th, Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew knew they would have ground to make up if the team wanted to contend on the second night of the doubleheader.
O’Ward went to work early, taking advantage of the high-line over the first two laps, gaining five positions and settling into 7th. Askew didn’t have as strong of a start but knowing his car would get better as the stint went on, he played the waiting game in the middle of the field.
Eventually, O’Ward moved up all the way to second place and found himself on the tail of the leader and polesitter, Josef Newgarden. Running just behind him going into the final round of pit stops, the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP team went for the lead on pit lane. The stop looked fast until clean, until O’Ward left the box and the team realized one of the wheels wasn’t tight. The mistake cost O’Ward the lead lap and a shot at fighting for the win. The Monterrey, Mexico native would go on to finish the race where he started in 12th. O’Ward still remains firmly in the championship hunt, sitting fourth with 162 points.
Askew, the rookie from Jupiter, FL, took advantage of a late-race caution to get fresher tires than the rest of the cars on the lead lap. With around 60 laps to go, he took the restart from 10th. Taking advantage of better tires late in the race, Askew was able to gain four positions and finish 6th, the second-best finish of his young career, after a 3rd place finish in Race One in Iowa. The pair of strong finishes is enough to move Askew to the top of the Rookie of the Year standings (115 points), just one point ahead of Alex Palou. (114 points)
The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to action, after a much-needed break, on August 9th at Mid-Ohio. Tune in for the race at 1:30 p.m. ET. (network TBD)
Pato O’Ward – No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
“Yesterday, I think we started off the weekend well. In the second race, the best way to sum it up is ‘what could have been.’ We had the pace, we were strong, I made up positions to be fighting at the front. In the end, it was not meant to be for us, but we’re going to continue pushing to finish strong at Mid-Ohio.”
Oliver Askew – No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet
“You can’t complain about two top 10s and especially my first podium. After yesterday, it was hard to sleep with all the adrenaline. Just had to focus and get back to it today. Really proud of Arrow McLaren SP, Chevrolet and everyone on this team. I know Pato had a really good shot at a podium and a win there, so definitely on the right track. Two podiums in two race weekends for us, we have quick fast cars and looking forward to the next few races to keep the momentum going and really have a good run at the rookie of the year championship. All-in-all a great weekend, a big thanks to everybody that showed up tonight and the fans watching at home.”
“Certainly the pace was there all weekend. As a team, we brought our A-game in preparation for this event. We had the cars that could win, but unfortunately did not get it done. In the second race, Pato drove an excellent race and we let him down in the pits. Very disappointing and unfortunate because we had the car to win for sure. We will regroup, find ways to improve and we will come back stronger for Mid-Ohio.”